Dec 12, 2017

Jim Grant on the Swiss franc

In the past, Switzerland had a certain franchise. It was a financial franchise based upon prudence, discretion and judgement in banking. It was based upon tradition and upon some kind of a stiff-necked independence from the rest of the world and the world’s central banks. I think those traditions and that franchise have been eviscerated to a great extend through pressure from the outside world and through the changing mores of worldwide regulation. So the Swiss franchise in judgment and discretion has now been rebranded to a franchise in secrecy which is all about the despots of Africa secreting billions of US dollars into Swiss bank accounts.

 That’s my opinion as an independent observer. I can describe the problem but, for the life of me, I don’t know what Switzerland should do to revert to its privileged place – a privilege well-earned in a world that has gone rather mad. The Swiss brand is still recognized worldwide. »Made in Switzerland» is one of the great phrases in the world of commerce. But I question the validity of the specific financial franchise and the desirability of the Swiss Franc. However, that’s my opinion. The world’s opinion is that the Franc is not the storm in a port but a port in a storm. That’s what the world thinks. So the Swiss must live with that and the way they do that is to depreciate the once sacrosanct Franc. They do it by creating Francs at no costs, convert them effortlessly into Euros, trade in those Euros into Dollars and then buy American equities at record high valuations.

~ Jim Grant, "James Grant: Markets Trust Too Much in the Presence of  Central Banks," December 11, 2017, Finanz und Wirtschaft

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